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Not here not now
Plan 9, Bristol 28 November – 14 December
Curated by Natasha MacVoy
Left; Anna Barham, November 2008, Rolled magazine pages,
sellotape and glue, Dimensions variable
Anna Barham, November 2008 Rolled magazine pages, sellotape and glue, Dimensions variable
Andy Parker, Left: Seconds 2004 Right: Paid Peanuts 2003
Foreground; Maria-Brigita Karantzi, You can't have all this,
detail, 2008, mixed media, dimensions variable
Gathered together within the distinctive Bridewell Island gallery space in Bristol, the works of four individual London-based artists jostle with, and complement each other. Despite the diversity of the ideas and creative processes on show, an accord is forged between them as they collectively draw our attention to the fragile status of the moment.
The passage of time and the moment of the present are two themes that the works of Anna Barham, Tom Dale, Maria-Brigata Karantzi and Andy Parker, all in their own way evoke and display within the borders of their own particular projects. But collected together by curator Natasha MacVoy to share the present for a while, these works find those themes brought to the fore, as they push to distinguish themselves by emphasising their specific form of transience.
Karantzi’s ‘you can’t have all this’ (2008) holds together as it hangs from the structural properties of the space it relies upon to draw its form, whilst precariously threatening to fall to pieces. By setting up this abstract rigging, Karantzi seems to prepare the gallery itself for the inevitable voyage of change, as vines incorporated into the work slowly make their ascension over the course of the show.
In works such as ‘I wish my wife was this dirty’ (2004), Parker addresses the notions of impermanence, disposability and preservation. Inconspicuous and fleeting events, such as the act of daubing a clichéd message in the dirt of a white van, become elevated beyond their intended existence by finding themselves captured in photographs and put on display, testaments to brief moments of expression carried out by unknown authors.
Each of us tussles with the present in many subtle ways, and in ‘Remote Control’ (2008) Dale creates signs bearing the symbols found on the common remote, which, though familiar to the point of being taken for granted, encapsulate this daily grappling with the flow of time. Cumbersome, deliberately unrefined, and propped up casually against the wall, these signs accentuate the apathy usually shown to all the modes of temporality that dominate our decisions.
In ‘Replanted Images II, III, IV, V & VI’ and ‘Time Slid Against Me’ (both 2008) Barham produces text-based works that are dictated by the self-imposed restriction of exclusively using the letters found in the words replanted images. The finite, but abundant, potential combinations of letters and words acts as a creative catalyst, not just for Barham, but also for the viewer, who is invited to engage with and interpret the text in their own unique way, with each interpretation defining the work at a given time.
Demarcating their zones of temporality, expressing moments of a present that has already gone, the works of these four artists embrace the impermanence of their time together, in a show that is one day here and now, but is soon to be there and then.
Words: Jeremy Walton Images: Natasha MacVoy
Jeremy Walton is an artist and writer and is currently working on a PhD at the University of the West of England, Bristol.